Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti

by EarthSpark International Corp.
Play Video
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Eradicating Energy Poverty in Haiti
Les Anglais locals re-registering as customers
Les Anglais locals re-registering as customers

As the days continue to get longer, we’re happy to report that we’ve been making great progress on repairs and expansion of our clean energy community grids in Haiti. As we share our headline stories below, we would also love to hear from you if you have any questions or input.

Long-awaited Re-launch in Les Anglais

As you may recall, our inaugural grid was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew back in 2016, and we have been working hard to recover. We’re happy to report that our customer reconnections to the repaired grid are now almost complete, and the town is blanketed with a gradually growing patchwork of glowing lights. That’s right, we’re lights on in Les Anglais! Our vendors are back to selling plop plop (energy credits) and, may we say it, we can feel renewed energy in the town. As we improve our system to build back stronger we’re also partnering with the Mayor’s office to deliver streetlighting which will be an exciting addition to life in Les Anglais. But most important is the feverish race to make sure our customers are connected and live in time for the World Cup. We’re ready for homes to over flow with devoted fans in front of screens and radios, hanging on every goal.

Charging Forward in Tiburon

In Tiburon we continue to work with Haitian firm DigitalKap towards the completion of our second grid’s energy generation site. Racking and solar panels are installed, and the battery inverter storage system is expected to arrive in a matter of days. This is considerable progress since breaking ground in January. A damaged bridge is impeding the transportation of the system’s heavy batteries, but we’re expecting bridge repairs to be complete any day now.

Getting Started on “Starter Grids”

Haiti’s rural south is scattered with municipalities, towns and villages of all sizes. We look forward to a future where reliable electricity is a reality in each community. To start serving some of these smaller communities we have begun fundraising for 2 “starter grids”. Towns have been selected for smaller, modular grids that can power approximately 50 connections each and can be easily expanded at a later date. We’re also preparing to relaunch Enèji Pwòp’s off-grid retail work to pilot stand-alone solar home systems for homes and businesses beyond the reach of our grids. Energy access needs come in all shapes and sizes, and we’re proud to be offering a portfolio of solutions. At times, finding the stepping stones to tackle energy poverty in Haiti feels like a leap into the dark, but as the light returns to homes in Les Anglais we're reminded that progress is possible. Thank you, from all of us, for making our work possible with your generous support.

Warmly,

Madie and the rest of the EarthSpark team.

Tiburon generation site is near completion
Tiburon generation site is near completion
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Jean Douyon working on Ready-Boards
Jean Douyon working on Ready-Boards

We are thrilled to be able to update our supporters with all the progress that has been made so far in 2018.

Breaking ground on Grid #2:

In January we broke ground on our next microgrid! After an exhaustive Request for Proposal process, EarthSpark selected Haitian firm DigitalKap as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) company to build the power generation system in nearby Tiburon. Tiburon is a beautiful fishing village about 45 minutes down the road from Les Anglais. After leveling the land, Digitalkap has started installing materials on site. We look forward to updating you more on this process!

Hurricane Matthew recovery:

Restoring service to Les Anglais is finally within sight. At the end of last year, we completed work on restoring our distribution system with the help of Dominican company GEMSA and Haitian company ELMECO. We are now working on household installations, with the goal of getting about 50 customers connected within the month. To streamline home wiring installations, we have been working on building ‘Ready Boards’. Ready Boards are pre-fabricated electrical panels with built in plugs that reduce material costs and installation time compared to typical home wiring installations. We worked with our former Miracle Stove cookstove manufacturer, the talented Les Anglais-based craftsman Jean Douyon, to help prepare the enclosures that will hold the materials.

Legal and regulatory processes:

We are also working with mayors across the southern peninsula of Haiti and the relevant national authorities to clarify policy for forming public-private-partnerships (PPPs) for the next 20 grids after Tiburon. We have received many letters of interest from the mayors keen to collaborate on building grids in their towns. With the help of the Haitian government and the local communities we hope to turn these letters of interest into PPP documents that will clarify the terms of grid development and operation in each town. Our goal is to build these 20 grids over the next 3 years as we work on moving microgrids to market with a scalable, sustainable model. 

As ever, we are eternally grateful for your on-going support. Please feel free to share our story with your friends and family through our blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Site leveling work in Tiburon
Site leveling work in Tiburon
Ready-Board example
Ready-Board example
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

My name is Madie, and in September, I joined EarthSpark’s Les Anglais team as their storyteller. For the past few months I have had the pleasure of collecting stories of the people of Les Anglais. But today I want to tell you the story of Les Anglais through my eyes.

I come from a small town in Australia. Like Les Anglais, it is a rural town, of approximately the same population, which is also a beacon of renewable energy innovation in its region. So in many ways, Les Anglais feels a home away from home.

Unlike my hometown, Les Anglais is bordered by a staggering mountain range, from which a river spills down to carve out the eastern border, finally meeting the beaches that wrap around the rest of the town. I have spent every week here in awe of nature’s beauty. But as you well know, nature can be fearsome. After seeing footage of Les Anglais prior to Hurricane Matthew, and walking past still roofless houses to the sparse markets, I came to realize not only what Les Anglais was and is, but also what it can be.

In my time here, we have welcomed two engineering firms who have all but completed the rebuild of the EarthSpark grid’s distribution system. Poles are repaired, and powerlines form a neat patchwork across the town). In the new year, we can complete our customers’ home installations with service drops from the distribution network, directly to their homes. With houses being rebuilt as fast as people can afford, both EarthSpark and our customers are impatient for the re-electrification that’s now almost within reach.

With one eye on the present, the other is firmly fixed on the future. Over the past weeks, I have accompanied the team to a town 45 minutes further down the road from Les Anglais: Tiburon. Setting operations for our first grid on the home stretch, our Director of Community Engagement is busy also working with the people of Tiburon for the pre-construction work needed to launch the grid in their town.

A year after EarthSpark’s inaugural grid was devastated, we have been given the opportunity to not only rebuild smarter and stronger, but to stride into 2018 ripe with the possibility of expansion. Your support has brought us this far, and for that we are endlessly grateful.

It has been my deepest pleasure, to not only hear, but share the hopes, dreams, and determination of the Les Anglais community. To see what your support has achieved, watch their stories on our Facebook or YouTube pages.

See what we do. Give what you can. Spark a revolution.

Assessing the proposed solar panel site in Tiburon
Assessing the proposed solar panel site in Tiburon
Power lines run above the solar array again!
Power lines run above the solar array again!
Jefery from GEMSA admiring his colleagues' work
Jefery from GEMSA admiring his colleagues' work

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Vladimir with his freezer at the solar site
Vladimir with his freezer at the solar site

Our hearts are with those working to recover from the most recent hurricanes. Eleven months after Hurricane Matthew swept through Les Anglais as a category 5 storm, our solar powered community electricity system has yet to be fully re-established.

In the absence of a fully-functioning grid, though, not everybody in Les Anglais has been without power. Though the wires came down in the storm, the majority of the solar panels fared well, and the solar array is still producing electricity. Several entrepreneurs worked with the EarthSpark team to bring their businesses right to the solar generation site in order to conduct their electricity-powered commerce. Most popular: phone charging services and refrigeration. Storm or not, it’s hot, and people value a good cold soda.

Thanks to generous donors, we are now nearly ready to begin straightening the poles and re-running electricity service along streets and into reconstructed homes and businesses. We look forward to sending you updates of the power being fully restored, but for now, we send gratitude and well wishes.

Warm regards,
The EarthSpark Team

Vladimir's variety shop in Les Anglais
Vladimir's variety shop in Les Anglais
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Cold drinks!
Cold drinks!

Thank you, as ever, for your support of our work. The community of Les Anglais is still rebuilding after Hurricane Matthew, and much progress has been made.

We are still fundraising to repair the Les Anglais grid as we formulate our ‘build back better’ plan. In the meantime, we have expanded the services we are offering at the generation site. In addition to mobile phone charging, we have three entrepreneurs who have stored their freezers in our containers to be able to sell cold drinks.  We are hoping to finalize funding for repairs within the next month and be fully operational by the end of the year.

The impact of Hurricane Matthew has strengthened our belief in building high quality energy infrastructure where it is needed most. Pre-hurricane we had secured funding from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) to build our next grid in Tiburon. Tiburon is a beautiful fishing village about 45 minutes away from Les Anglais. Unfortunately, it too was hit by Hurricane Matthew which delayed construction of that grid. However, both EarthSpark and the community are ready to push forward and provide the town with affordable, reliable electricity. As a first step, we recently issued a request for proposals for the generation system and are in the middle of the selection process.  

In addition to fixing the Les Anglais grid and building the Tiburon grid, EarthSpark is also seeking grant funding to build two more grids in the area within the next 6 months. We see these grids as crucial to de-risking the process of building microgrids in Haiti as we work towards an investable model to scale up to 80. Our experiences to date have shown that microgrids are worthwhile, but still risky. Matthew showed us the environmental risks, but there are still legal and regulatory risks, technical risks and more. You can read more about these risks and how we are addressing them on our blog.  

Tiburon, the site of the next EarthSpark grid.
Tiburon, the site of the next EarthSpark grid.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

EarthSpark International Corp.

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @earthsparkintl
Project Leader:
Allison Archambault
Washington, DC United States
$20,146 raised of $35,000 goal
 
428 donations
$14,854 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

EarthSpark International Corp. has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.